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Phillies score 19 runs, overwhelm Futures squad in exhibition matchup

 

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The Philadelphia Phillies and their Futures Team sqaure off at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, PA on March 31st, 2016 (Rich Wilkins/Philliedelphia)

By: Brandon Apter, contributor

Final: Phillies 19, Futures 4  ❖  Attendance: 9,320 

Reading, PA - For the first time in 16 years, the Phillies took to the field in Reading, Pennsylvania for the debut of the Futures Game, pitting the big leaguers against some of the organization's top talent, including the likes of J.P. Crawford, Roman Quinn and Nick Williams. Phillies 13th ranked prospect Zach Eflin started for the Futures Team and fell victim to the Phillies offense, allowing 12 runs, nine earned, in the first three innings.

The Phillies offense piled on the runs, routing the Futures Team in an absolute blowout. The two teams combined to hit 11 home runs, eight from the Phillies, in the seven-inning contest. Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Darin Ruf, Cedric Hunter, Maikel Franco, Tyler Goeddel, Ryan Howard and Odubel Herrera hit homers for the Phillies while Dylan Cozens, J.P. Crawford and Roman Quinn went deep for the Futures Team.

On Friday at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will host the Baltimore Orioles for an on-deck matchup before hosting the Futures Team for a nine-inning contest on Saturday afternoon. 

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Flyers Dedicating Playoff Run to Ailing Ed Snider

This October, Philadelphia Flyers chairman and owner Ed Snider wasn't able to attend the home opener. On Thursday, the Flyers took their annual team photo. It was the first time in 49 seasons that Ed Snider was not sitting front and center. 

"'This is my fifth year in Philadelphia, and it's weird to not see Mr. Snider in the picture,'" Wayne Simmonds told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi, referring to a conversation with head coach Dave Hakstol

Snider, who turned 83 in January, may not have been present physically, but the owner is on the minds of the Flyers as the season hits a critical point. The Flyers only exist because of Ed Snider's vision. Now the Flyers are trying to return the favor with a playoff appearance.

"Mr. Snider obviously is this organization. He is the Philadelphia Flyers," Simmonds said. "This is definitely something we're trying to put together for Mr. Snider."

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With Chip Kelly, 'Scouts had no say,' Report Says

There have been constant stories about the way the Eagles operated under Chip Kelly, each one more telling than the next. Whatever your opinion is and whoever you believe should be at fault, it's clear the Eagles were a mess with Kelly and the balance of power was non-existent.

That could not be more true in this latest story surrounding Kelly and the Eagles. According to a report from NJ.com's Matt Lombardo, the Eagles scouts had worked throughout the offseason to set the Draft board. And when Chip Kelly got a hold of it, he removed all players he was not interested in, throwing some of the scouts hard work in the trash.

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Phillies Futures Series kicks off tonight at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading

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J.P. Crawford and Maikel Franco will go head-to-head in tonight's Futures Series Game in Reading, PA (Frank Klose/Philliedelphia)

By: Brandon Apter, contributor

 The Phillies (15-10) closed out their spring schedule in Florida yesterday in dramatic fashion. After being limited to just two hits over the first seven innings, the Phils offense erupted in the eighth inning. Trailing 3-0, the Phillies loaded the bases with none out. After a Cesar Hernandez bunt RBI single tied the game Maikel Franco hit a go-ahead RBI-single. Andres Blanco blew things open with a grand slam, powering Philadelphia to an 8-4 victory on their final game at Bright House Field this season.

Tonight, the Phillies will kick-off their Futures Series at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, home of their Double-A affiliate. It's the first game that has featured the big league team in Reading in 16 years, when 9,307 fans came out to see the Reading Phillies top the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 in May of 2000. It will be a seven inning contest. On April 2nd, the Futures Series will move to Citizens Bank Park before the Phillies open their 2016 season against the Reds on the road April 4th. 

Reliever Jeanmar Gomez will start for the Phillies while Zach Eflin and Mark Appel will start things off for the Futures team, who have six of the top 100 prospects in baseball on their roster, according to MLB.com.


Starting Pitching Matchup:

Futures Team Philadelphia Phillies
RHP Zach Eflin RHP Jeanmar Gomez
(0-0, 1.80 ERA) (0-0, 1.50 ERA)

Continue reading "Phillies Futures Series kicks off tonight at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading" »


Rare NHL History made with Flyers win on Wednesday

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Kate Frese/Flyerdelphia

The Flyers win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday made history. No, it was not because the Flyers actually won a shootout -- the Orange and Black are 3-8 this season in that department. 

By even getting the game to overtime, the Flyers had earned a point that eliminated the Ottawa Senators from playoff contention. Why is that significant? Because the Senators were the last remaining Canadian team to be eliminated from playoff contention, meaning for just the second time in NHL history, no team from Canada will make a playoff appearance.

Continue reading "Rare NHL History made with Flyers win on Wednesday" »


Eagles reportedly will work out Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg

 

The Eagles have already been reported to have held/scheduled private workouts with the consensus top three quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft class (Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Paxton Lynch). Given the fact that they might not be able to select their top player at the position with the 8th overall pick, the front office and coaching staff are making sure to focus on the second tier of prospects they could target in the mid-to-later rounds. According to ESPN's Adam Caplan that group includes a player who should be quite familiar with those in the area: Penn State's Christian Hackenberg

 

Once seen as a potential 1st overall pick, Hackenberg had a tumultuous tail-end to his career with the Nittany Lions. As a freshman, the blue chip recruit shined under the tutelage of Bill O'Brien during his last year in Happy Valley. After James Franklin took over, Hackenberg regressed and struggled to recapture the promise he showed as a freshman. Hackenberg declared for the draft almost instantly following his final game with Penn State, and has drawn considerable notoriety in the pre-draft process for his reported honest regarding the coaching staff he worked under his final two years. Robert Klemko of the MMQB with the story. 

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to blame to coach James Franklin for his struggles while at Penn State, according to Robert Klemko of the MMQB.

“Despite the fact that it's probably true, you don't want to hear a kid say that,” one NFL evaluator told Klemko.

 

Despite the question marks surrounding his off-field attitude, Hackenberg is the type of prospect that teams will think they can 'fix'. His physical gifts are enough for a team to try and work around his shortcomings elsewhere. Though he isn't the potential top pick he once was, Hackenberg is still a prospect that teams will most likely target in the second day of the draft.

Somers Price is a contributor for Eagledelphia.com and can be followed on Twitter @somersprice


Jeffrey Lurie, Doug Pederson seen having dinner with Carson Wentz

The Eagles have been very high on quarterbacks in the Draft. They have already worked out four, and will work out a fifth next week.

But really, the two worth mentioning are Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. The reason being is that the Eagles would likely have to trade up to select either.

The Eagles worked out Carson Wentz on Wednesday, but it went much further than just a workout. Owner Jeffrey Lurie, head coach Doug Pederson and other Eagles management were seen having dinner with Wentz at a Fargo restaurant.

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Phillies Season Outlook: The Bullpen

A bullpen can make or break a team's chances at World Series glory. We saw it up close in 2008, as Brad Lidge converted every save opportunity that came his way, anchoring the Philadelphia Phillies to their first title in 28 years. They are vital to a team's success, but it's not always the closer that gets the girl, so to speak. 

Wade Davis, middle reliever for Kansas City, became the first pitcher in baseball history with a sub-1.00 ERA over the span of two seasons (2014-15). Davis and Kelvin Herrerra, in 2014, became the first teammates to pitch at least 70 innings each without surrendering a home run since Lefty Williams and Reb Russell of the White Sox matched the feat back in 1918. Neither player was ever the primary closer, but they sure played a huge role in delivering KC consecutive league titles, culminating in a World Series championship last season.

By comparison, this Phillies bullpen is not that young, and not that promising. Truth be told, a lot has to go right to consider it respectable. Young, talented arms are coming up that could, someday, make this group dominant.

As for now, it's a work in progress, and that work in progress is previewed in part four of our "Phillies Season Outlook" series. 

Continue reading "Phillies Season Outlook: The Bullpen" »


With the 8th Pick, the Eagles sit in QB Purgatory

The Eagles brass have logged some miles this week, visiting at least four quarterback prospects, including the three top-rated QBs. As rumors swirl regarding the team's wish to trade up in order to select Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, it is worth considering what kind of quarterbacks have been taken in the back-half of the Top-10 in the NFL Draft.

Short answer: Bad QBs.

Continue reading "With the 8th Pick, the Eagles sit in QB Purgatory" »


Flyers-Capitals: Postgame Perspective

Flyers prove their toughness on all levels in defeating Capitals

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It was Fan Appreciation Night at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. Nothing says thank you more than the most important win of the season.

Granted, that's a tired statement anymore. They are all important to the Philadelphia Flyers.

But on this night, facing the President's Trophy winners in the Washington Capitals, facing a team they could very well meet again in the first round of the playoffs, dealing with a grinding, gritty, playoff-like atmosphere, the Flyers really did deliver the most important win of the season, a 2-1 win.

And it happened to come in the most unlikely fashion, via the shootout.

Continue reading "Flyers-Capitals: Postgame Perspective" »